Episode 13...by Jason Slafer
The elevator is very dark, lit only by the
glowing blue button, and even that is unable to cast Tre's shadow. He feels the elevator's
peaceful movement and tries to hear it's humming. He wants to hear something to be sure
his mind is in place. "What is going on here?" he says to himself to break the
silence. Seemingly, he waits for an answer. The elevator jerks as it stops, making Tre's
stomach seem to bounce. I guess, he thinks, that is as close to an answer that I will get.
The doors slide open, there's no ping this time, and Tre steps out.
Jack is sitting in the library, a book in
his hand, impatiently waiting for the lights to return. When they don't, he tries to feel
his way around to get out. There is a nasty blizzard outside, and he certainly does not
want to have anymore trouble driving home than he will have already, especially since he
is in no mood to be driving safely. He had come to the library to read and get his mind
off of that conniving Dana Parkstone. The power outage ruined that plan.
While thinking about this, Jack runs into the card catalog. He
likes the old-fashioned card catalogs more than the muddled computerized version, but
can't understand why it is still there if no one else uses it. Heck, they are using some
of the cards for scrap paper, why not use the drawers for kindling? As this thought passed
through Jack's upset mind, a match is struck to his right. He looks and sees the tiny
flame dancing in the air. When he focuses his eyes, Jack sees that the match is being held
by the librarian, who begins lighting some candles. "H-hello."
She looks up and slowly smiles lightly. "Why, hello. I
didn't realize there was still someone here. I was just finishing up some of my work.
Jack snaps to attention. "Yes, I was catching up on some
"You don't have to lie. I saw that you looked..." She
pauses to shake out the match. "...distressed."
"I thought you said you didn't know I was here."
"Oops," she says with no hint of mistake whatsoever.
"I guess I lied, huh? My name is Jessica."
"Jack! That is a very nice name." She brings two lit
candles and places them at one of the tables. After sliding into a chair, she motions for
Jack to do the same. He sits across from her. "Now then, why don't you tell me all
about what is bothering you."
Jack tells Jessica about his experience with Dana. He talks about
it for what seems to him to be a very long time, making sure he said everything that he
wanted to say. Throughout the entire story, Jessica does not make any facial expressions;
she simply fixes her eyes on Jack, though Jack can not tell if she is paying close
attention or not. When he is finished, Jessica reaches out and pats his hand. "She
doesn't understand that you have feelings."
"To her, you're just a tough guy who can be tossed away like
paper, and you would never even notice a thing."
Jack studies her. "Yes," he says. "That's it
exactly. How do you know these things?"
She smiles. "I know a lot more about men than most
"Really." She leans closer towards Jack.
The room that Tre steps into is not lit up
at all. Nearby is a doorway that does has some light, though. It emits the same blue glow
that the elevator's button did, only much brighter. He starts to move in that direction,
but very slowly as to avoid running into anything. The blue glow does shine a little bit
of light on this room, which allows Tre to see what looks like a small lab. As he gets
closer to the blue room, he notices that there is movement in it. He also sees another
room to his right. The door is only slightly ajar, and a purple glow peaks out from the
crack. He decides to look in there first. He looks through the crack and sees a vast
laboratory. Very vast. It looks like it covers about half of Ill Valley itself! There are
many glass bottles and beakers, a lot of equipment, experimentation tables, and much more
that the purple glow does not allow him to see. He is fascinated. He continues to stare. A
noise from the blue room snaps Tre from the trance. Unsure as to how long he has been
there, Tre turns from the ajar door and starts toward the blue room again, but, suddenly,
the elevator door opens. Someone else is using the elevator! After a brief moment of
exasperation, Tre relaxes. It is probably just Leslie May with security, he thinks. I
should make sure they don't make any noise. Wouldn't want us to be found out.
The person who steps out the door, though shadowed, is definitely
not Leslie May or security. Tre knows this by the way this man jets out of the elevator
and calmly proceeds to make his way toward the blue room. He is wearing a long coat and is
holding a small object. Tre ducks behind what he thinks is a lab table, all the while
hoping he was not spotted. He almost sighs loudly when the man passes him by. When he
does, Tre moves to the doorway of the blue room. He sees the man in the coat approach a
large bald man who is frantically opening up one of a series of freezers inside the blue
"Burrows," says the man in the coat, "Paul is
"Where at?" sighs Burrows.
"Computer lab. You better hurry up and get it clean. There
was someone else there."
"Why can't you ever do that yourself, Zycloe?"
The man in the coat holds up what looks like a twisted knife. Tre
then realizes it is a sickle. "Do you want to do my job? I think not. You wouldn't
have the slightest idea how to do it."
"All right. This better not become a habit. I don't want to
pick up every person you kill."
Tre's eyes widen. He almost speaks an exclamation of shock, but
holds it in. Cripes! I had better get out of here and tell someone about this. Before he
can return to the elevator, he looks down and sees the crack of purple light resting at
his feet begin to get wider. As he turns toward the red room, he feels a powerful pain
over his head. And then blackness...
Hiram gasps. He wishes he had never gone
down into the sub-sub-basement. What was he thinking? A proud excursion of curiosity has
made him witness to an assault and battery. He wonders what is going on.
"Zycloe! Burrows!" calls the man who just struck the
boy. "Get out here!"
Two men come from the room with the blue glow.
"What is wrong?" From the previous conversation, Hiram
decides that this is Burrows. "Who's this?"
"Exactly what I want to know. He was listening in on you
two. Remind me never to talk about anything private with either of you." Hiram can't
see this man's face, but he can tell by his body motions that he is troubled by something
more than the spy. "Did you do it, Zycloe?"
"The deed is done." Zycloe hands over a gun. "Bad
thing is, someone beat me to it. I heard the shot, saw someone run out, and found Paul
"At least he is out of the way. Burrows?"
"I was on my way to take care of it all."
"There's something else. We've got a breakout."
Burrows grimaces and Zycloe shakes his head. Hiram notices that
the latter has on a cute little eyepatch, like one out of a pirate movie.
"How?" asks Burrows.
"Barthalomo doesn't know. It might have happened between the
time the power went out and the generator kicked on. But I don't know how it could have
left the floor."
Zycloe holds out a glowing key. "This was left in the
elevator. I guess that answers that."
The third man takes the key and grips it tightly. "Burrows,
go up and look for it after you take clean up the mess. I'll call security to keep an eye
"All right." Burrows walks to the elevator.
"Now...what do we do with this snoop?"
"I have an idea," says Zycloe. "But we better
hurry. You hit him awful hard with that microscope. Oops." He leans over Tre, grins,
and laughs quietly.
Hiram decides this is enough. He starts to climb back up the air
duct he came. Before making it to the next level, his yellow-orange crayon slips out of
his sweaty hand and tumbles to the sub-sub-basement. It makes a soft thud. Hiram grits his
teeth and moves on.
"What was that?" asks Warlock. He
walks toward the grating in the wall. Was someone in there? Did someone hear us? Upon
close inspection, Warlock sees nothing. He remembers stories the security guards told
him...and one that Nurse Bell recollected. He did believe them then, but now...oh well. A
minor detail that he can fix. But not today. He has to call security. He goes to do so as
Zycloe drags the boy's body into the purple room.
It has taken her a while to get to the
lobby because the red emergency lights have all shut off, but Leslie May has finally
managed to make it there. She finds that the office of the head of security is empty.
Normally, even if the head is off, one of the security guards is around this office. Not
even the information desk secretary is to be seen, not that much can be seen anyhow, since
she only has the moonbeams coming in through the sky-glass for light. "Hello!"
she cries. "Security? I need help!" She hears the flush of a toilet nearby and
then hears someone's footsteps approaching.
"Yes? Who's there?" Leslie May sees a flashlight beam
moving all over the lobby. The man carrying it is frantically stuffing his shirt into his
pants while he trots.
"Over here!" The beam hits Leslie May in the face. She
holds a hand in front of her eyes as a shield. "Security?"
"Officer Kline, security, yes." He zips up his pants
and straightens himself out. Leslie May wonders how red his face must be. "What seem
to be the trouble?"
"Please come with me. My friend is in trouble. He is in the
"What is he doing down there?"
"I can't explain, but he needs your help."
"I'll do whatever I can."
She takes him through the halls and down into the tunnels. Even
with the flashlight, they lose their way a few times. Before they reach the lab, Leslie
May thinks she hears the ping of the elevator. "Tre? Tre, is that you?" No
answer. "Come on," she says to the guard. "Tre might be hurt."
"If you say so, ma'am."
They reach the lab and Officer Kline looks around. "What
happened in here? Did you do this mess?"
"No, it was already like that. The elevator, please!"
The security guard frowns as he flashes the light on the
elevator. "Ma'am, this thing hasn't worked in years."
"My friend just used it! Of course it works."
"Even so, look there." He puts the beam on a slot by
the elevator. "You would need some kind of card key to get inside it. Maybe to run
it, too. I don't know of anyone who has one of those keys."
At that moment, an ear-piercing scream echoes through the halls.
They both jump and look around in confusion. They hear another scream and Officer Kline
runs out of the lab in the scream's direction. Leslie May leans against the elevator and
slides down it. Tears roll down her cheek, but she is too baffled to cry.
Dana has wiggled off of the janitor's
lifeless body, staining herself with yet more blood. She looks around, expecting to be
grabbed at any moment. But it doesn't happen. There is no other movement in the room at
all. She feels the spot on her neck where the janitor cut her and winces. She needs to go
for help. She heads toward the door, bumping into computer tables along the way. She
avoids touching anything with her hands. Even wounded and scared, the neatness taught to
her by her mother still prevails. She gets out into the hallway and turns right. The
emergency lights flicker and then extinguish. This bothers Dana, but she strides on
anyway. After taking a few steps, she thinks she hears a swishing behind her similar to
the swish she heard before the attack. Her heart races. Frightened, Dana begins to stagger
faster, and faster, and faster. Then she runs into a stone wall where the hallway curves.
Dana knows she can turn down the next hall, but she kneels down anyway and holds her
wound. She closes her eyes and thinks of her grandmother. Is this how you felt, Grandma?
she thinks. Did you feel this pain? Thoughts like these continue for a long while until a
voice inside her head, what Dana believes to be the voice of her grandmother speaks:
"I was stronger than you."
Dana momentarily stops her breathing. Did she just imagine that?
After giving that question a moment's thought, she decides that it doesn't matter. The
words were true. Grandmother would not be kneeling in a dark hallway.
She stands and continues to walk. It hurts her to do it, but she
screams. Not a scared scream that she would have allowed moments before, but one that was
only meant to be heard, one that would lead others to her. She waits a minute and screams
again. A few minutes later, she spots a flashlight twirling around the hall.
"Here," Dana gasps. "I need help."
The flashlight beam comes closer. Dana now sees that it is a
security guard and sighs relief. She flops down against the wall, and the guard kneels
next to her. "Miss? What happened to you?"
"Janitor...the janitor cut me."
"Who? Paul? Why, Paul wouldn't swat a fly if it bit him on
"I guess I'm not a fly, then. He did this." She points
to her neck and hears a whimper from the guard as he shines the beam toward her pointing
"Well, where did he go?"
"The computer lab. Someone shot him." Dana thought the
guard would drop dead himself the way he reacted to this news. "Go see."
"I can't just leave you like this."
"Yes you can," a voice from behind him says. The guard
turns and shines his light on the face of a woman in her mid-twenties. He seems to know
who she is. "I'll take care of her." In her hands she carries a flashlight and a
first aid kit.
"Where did you get those?" the guard asks.
"The lab. I'm a nurse in training, so I can help."
The guard agrees and heads for the computer lab.
"My name is Leslie May," says the woman. "Let me
look at that cut."
"I'm Dana." She lowers her hands and lets Leslie May
"It isn't that bad. You're lucky, though." Leslie May
opens the kit, takes out some gauze, and proceeds to bandage the cut. When she is
finished, she says, "That should do until a doctor looks at it."
"Thank you, Leslie. Leslie May, I mean."
Leslie May tells Dana that they will get her to a hospital right
away and other comforting words. The guard returns during this conversation.
"The lab is empty."
"What?" shouts Dana, an action which Leslie May
immediately objects to.
"Nothing is there. At least, nothing that I see."
Dana is flabbergasted. She knows not what to say.
"I want you two to stay here. I'm going to call an ambulance
and the police." A beeper attached to his belt begins to bleep. The guard uses his
flashlight to see who it is that wants to talk to him. Leslie May and Dana can tell from
his face that it is something important. "I really better hurry up and call that
ambulance." He quickly departs in a sprint.
"Are you sure about this?"
"Relax, Dr. Barthalomo. This is what you want, isn't
"Yes, but not like this."
"It is either this way or no way."
Tre slowly opens his eyes. The back of his head is pounding. He
can barely make out the words he hears. When he focuses his eyes, he realizes he is in the
purple room. He is lying on a hard table, and two men are standing over him to his right,
arguing. One of them, the younger one, is the man in the coat. Zycloe. Tre sees he has an
eyepatch over his right eye. The other is someone he does not recognize. This one is
wearing a white lab coat and has on a pair of small glasses. Zycloe is holding some sort
of small, metal plate in his hand.
"Why can't you doctors ever grasp the opportunity when it
comes knocking at your front door? Always worried about insurance and fees and
malpractice, and safety. You're so scared of losing money that everyone is sick!"
"What would you know about it? You're just a paid
Zycloe moves so quickly, Tre barely knows what just happened.
Zycloe had pressed his sickle to the throat of Barthalomo. "I am not a thug! And I
know more about what you do for a living than you do! Now I am going to place this inside
this kid's head, show you just how to seize the moment."
Dr. Barthalomo stands his ground, though his face shows some
fear. "All right. Put on a face mask and get started before we lose him."
"I don't need a mask."
"But you have to wear one!"
"No I don't. You see? You're all so paranoid nothing gets
"Fine! I'm paranoid! I'm paranoid that you'll screw up, too!
What do you know about brain surgery?"
"I know a lot about the human body. I know what makes it go,
I know what makes it ill, and I know what makes it stop." He accents the final word.
and puts his sickle away. Zycloe looks down and sees Tre's eyes halfway open.
"Well! You aren't supposed to be awake. Don't worry, you won't remember any of this
when it is over."
"I'll give him anesthetic," says Barthalomo.
"Not necessary," says Zycloe.
"You can't do this sort of operation without
"You just try and stop me." Zycloe laughs and raises a
handle with a circular saw on the end. He squeezes a trigger, and the saw's whine cuts
through Zycloe's laughter. As Zycloe leans forward, purple gleaming around the man wearing
a blue coat, Tre looks from the saw to the eyepatch and passes out.
End Episode 13...